Back in 2003 when Minnesota became a shall issue state for handgun permits, the left raised a fearful cry about the state turning into the Wild West, shootouts in bars and churches, and in general a huge surge in gun violence.
In 2004, the left hailed the completion of the light rail train in Minneapolis that would move people around the city without the need for pollution causing cars, start a trend towards Smart Growth in Minnesota and even thwart terrorism.
The interesting truth of these two major changes in Minnesota is quite the opposite. Light rail has killed at least 2 1/2 times as many Minnesotans than conceal carry permit holders have.
Since 2003 (and with a brief pause when the law was ruled unconstitutional and then modified and re-enacted), until the end of 2008, the Department of Public Safety has issued 56,919 carry permits that are still currently valid. In that same time frame, there have been two reported homicides that resulted in murder charges against a carry permit holder. In one of those cases, use of a pistol was confirmed, in the other case it is reported as unknown. For argument's sake, let's use 2 homicides that involved pistols by carry permit holders. But keep in mind, the DPS report only reports charges, not convictions. Both cases reported could have been justifiable homicides for all we know.
Since June of 2004, when the 'Jessie train' started running until the end of 2008, there have been 5 reported fatalities. 1 was in a car that tried to go around the crossing gates, one was a bicyclist and 3 were pedestrians. The StarTribune has a interesting interactive map that shows the details, here. The 6th and 7th fatalities occurred just this month, as a car driver was hit and later died, and a pedestrian was hit and killed last week. But for comparison purposes, I won't count these latest two deaths since the DPS report is only current through the end of 2008.
So, since Minnesota became a shall issue state and completed a light rail line at roughly the same time, 2 people have died by permit holders, although we can only be sure that one of them used a pistol, and those two permit holders are presumed innocent until proven to be guilty. But 5 people have died because of the light rail line, with 2 more just this year. And light rail only impacts a small corridor in Minneapolis, where conceal carry is available in every corner of the state.
Is this the kind of progressive Minnesota that the left wants us to be heading towards?
What would be interesting, and I'm sure there is someone out there who knows or can find the info, is to see how many times a conceal carry permit holder in Minnesota has saved a life. It would be hard to measure, obviously, but how many robberies, burglaries and stalkers have been stopped from killing their victims because the victims were armed? That might change the equation even more in favor of handguns being safer than light rail.